By now, we all know the drill.
Manchester United are interested in Leighton Baines – Manchester United make a bid for Leighton Baines below Everton’s valuation – Everton reject bid.
It was the same under Ferguson; it remains the same under Moyes.
There is no denying Baines possesses real quality and has established himself as not only a key figure at Everton, but the most dangerous full back in the Premier League.
The footballer who looks more like a rock star is also on course to establish himself as the first choice left-back in the England national side. This is not to be sniffed at considering the man who’s place he is about to take (Ashley Cole) is the finest left-back England has ever had.
With the above in mind, how is there still a huge question mark over why Manchester United want him?
Is Patrice Evra going to be sold?
Current left-back (Evra) is the vice-captain of the side, a very influential figure in the dressing room and a senior player at the club.
Not many people know, but Evra is fluent in five languages and is more often than not, called upon when helping new signings adapt to life in Manchester.
A very nice guy some may say – but most importantly, on the pitch, Evra remains one Europe’s leading full-backs.
It has been noted that the Frenchman, at the ripe old age of 32 has seen his best years and is currently on the decline – but this doesn’t stop him galloping up and down the flank, every single weekend.
His positional sense comes into question on the odd occasion, but a near flawless 2012/13 campaign witnessed some fine displays from Evra – so why would United want to sell?
As rude as it sounds, Leighton Baines is not a young man.
Approaching 29 he is already into his peak years – so joining Manchester United will certainly not mean playing second fiddle to Evra in a hope to learn from him.
In the season leading up to the World Cup in Rio, and with England places up for grabs, Baines will want to come in as first choice left back – and not be stuck on the bench every other week.
I cannot see squad rotation benefiting the Manchester United side, or pleasing either player. Everybody knows a back four is at it’s best when it has minimal disruptions. Squad rotation with defenders does not work.
Is Leighton Baines better than Patrice Evra?
I am not sure that he is.
We all know the obvious qualities that Leighton Baines would bring to the left side of the Manchester United XI.
His final ball is on par with that of a primed David Beckham, and his set pieces are outrageous – power and precision every single time.
Baines can take a free kick or penalty only rivalled by one other left footed player in the Premier League. Yes you guessed it, Robin Van Persie.
This unique selling point of Baines’ game would surely be ineffective at Old Trafford. Can you see Van Persie handing over penalty or free-kick duties?
Away from Baines and Evra, United also have Brazilian Fabio and Dutchman Buttner.
Fabio, on loan at QPR last year could develop into as fine a fall back as his brother Rafael. At one stage, in 2011, Fabio was in the side for a good run of games which helped United clinch the Premier League title. He then went on to start the Champions League final against Barcelona. Injury has blighted his progress, but the quality is obviously there.
Buttner, somewhat of an unexpected signing last summer has shown massive signs of development and improvement under the wing of Evra. With age on his side, perhaps he might make the position his own.
I can predict at this point most Evertonians are screaming at the screen – “Baines is in a different league to these players”, and yes you may have a point… But Baines is not a league above Evra. This I am sure the Toffee fans will agree with.
For the rumoured £18m that Everton want for Baines, I ask if it is really worth bringing him to the club.
I appreciate and fully believe that Leighton Baines is worth every penny his £18m price tag, for the simple reason that he is a great player – but only for a club who need a left-back.
For Manchester United, who already have the one of the finest left backs in Europe, as well as two understudies waiting in the wings, it seems a ludicrous purchase and an obvious waste of money when other areas of the side do need replenishing.
I am a fan of Leighton Baines, but don’t believe he is what United need. Have I got this completely wrong?
Follow me on Twitter: @NathonW
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